Since we began in 1892 we at W. Smith and Sons have served the community with care and dignity.
We would like, at this time, to send our thoughts and best wishes to all those affected by the COVID - 19 virus. We also send our heartfelt thanks to the staff of the N.H.S. for saving lives through hard work and devotion during these unprecedented times. We also appreciate other key workers and volunteers who are keeping the Country going and keeping us safe.
We are doing all we can to protect and care for you and your family and keep you and our staff safe.
With advice and guidance often changing from day to day, some of the usual practices associated with arranging a funeral have had to change with the necessity of social distancing and isolation, but we will endeavour to help you in whatever way we can to make dealing with the funeral of a loved one as easy and uncomplicated as possible.
We highlight below our company policies regarding protection for our clients and employees and the legislative changes to proceedures which have been made to date and most importantly to keep everyone safe.
Making Funeral Arrangements
Normally our preferred location to make funeral arrangements would be in the comfort of your own home where you could be relaxed and at ease as much as possible, but this would be difficult and unsafe at the moment.
If it is acceptable to you, we will gather as much information over the telephone or by email during your initial contact. This will help us to start proceedures and enable us to prepare any necessary documention that will need to be signed. Then, with a follow up chat with one our funeral directors and with the help of our website, you can make the choices for the funeral and agree dates and times. If you prefer to do this face to face at one of our offices, this can be acheived if an appointment is made and the guidlines described below are followed.
Any paperwork that needs to be signed, can be delivered by ourselves, if local, or posted to you, or again signed at our offices by appointment only.
Visiting Our Offices / Chapels of Rest
No one who has symptons or who should be self-isolating, in accordance with government advice should visit our premises. Any visit is to be by appointment only and by no more than two persons. This is in order that we can maintain at least two metres social distancing at all times. Hand sanitiser will available for clients as they enter and leave the building. We regret that toilet facilities will not be available at this current moment in time.
Unfortunately, we do not have facilities to safely embalm a deceased who's death is due or suspected to be part due from COVID - 19, therefore we are unable to offer any viewing of the deceased in this situation.
Registration of an Expected Death
The Medical Cause of Death Certificate for the deceased will be sent by email directly to the appropriate Registry Office. A Registrar will then contact the informant (normally the next of kin or executor - a list of the persons who qualify as informants can be found under the heading of "Registration" on our website with the addition of a funeral director where they have been authorised by a relative) to obtain the information they need to register the death of the deceased over the telephone. A Death Certificate is then emailed to the informant and the Green Form 9 emailed to the funeral director.
Funeral Services and Ceremonies
As we understand at this moment most places of worship are closed for holding a funeral service, but if they are available the maximum number of mourners permitted to attend is 30. All services in local Crematoriums, Cemeteries or churchyards are limited to a maximum of ten mourners and social distancing of at least two metres should be maintained between different households. The large chapel (East Chapel) at Bournemouth Crematorium and Poole Crematorium we are allowed a maximum of 30 mourners. No one who is isolating or who suspects they have the virus can attend any service. For those unable to attend at Bournemouth or Poole Crematoria, live webcasting is available at an additional cost, but this needs to be booked in advance with ourselves at least two working days before the funeral.
Any large or heavy coffins will only be taken into a chapel on a trolley to avoid the bearers being too close to each other. Only at a graveside will we consider providing six bearers if the coffin is heavy, this is to enable the safe lowering of the coffin into the grave.
As advised by our trade assiociations we cannot offer the hire of limousines until further notice.
We offer an on-line tribute and donation collecting service throught our partner Muchloved where those wishing to contribute to a registered charilty may do so easily and securely. Alternatively, cheques made payable to the chosen charity may be sent to either of our offices, but we are unable to accept cash donations until further notice.
Because of the restrictions on the numbers of mourners who can attend a funeral we strongly advise against placing an announcement in a newspaper until after the funeral has taken place.